Stuff of French Dreams – Academy and Salon in the 19th Centuryby Matthew Innis |
Inspired by the European Enlightenment, 19th century French artists resisted the luxurious Rococo style favored by the aristocracy and embraced the art of Greece and Rome in antiquity. The aim was to improve morality and to advocate Republic ideologies through reviving the styles and spirits of the classical tradition. The Academy and the salons at the time served as creative platforms which allowed different styles of artistic movements such as Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Realism to flourish, and in turn enabling arts to play a part in social reform and modernization. As a result, France witnessed an all-round prosperity of arts and became the world art center in the 19th century.
The exhibition focuses on the artworks created in France during the period from the French Revolution to the First World War, with Paris at its center. The 103 pieces of exhibited works come from the world-renowned Parisian School of Fine arts (Ecole des beaux-arts) and National Center for Visual Arts (Centre National des Arts Plastiques), including masterpieces by artists such as Dominique Ingres, William Bouguereau and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret. It also includes sculptures by François Rude who created the bas-relief of “Marseillaise” on the Arch of Triumph in Paris. The three oil paintings by Ingres, including Jupiter and Thetis, are particularly noteworthy. This exhibition will offer visitors a vision of creativity and vitality from the 19th and 20th century France.